Avocados: Any Variety You Use Is Good Bet!

A recent trip to Southwest Florida got me thinking about avocados. I have always purchased Haas or other varieties of the California avocado. Like most people I love rich, creamy, and somewhat nutty taste this fruit has to offer. California avocados pack a lot of nutrition and healthy fat into a small serving, making them a note worthy addition to any healthful eating plan. For those of us trying to watch our weight, the avocado is rather high in calories and portion control should be the rule.

So what did my Florida trip have to do with avocados? On a shopping excursion through the produce section of a Florida grocery store, I discovered the very different Florida avocado, also sometimes trademarked as the SlimCado. Nothing has been done to genetically modify the Florida avocado to change it into a “SlimCado”. It is simply a Florida avocado sometimes referred to with this trademark because it has less fat and fewer calories than other varieties. Everyone knows that healthy fats are good for you, but it is nice to have an avocado that has less fat and calories.

Some facts on the Florida avocado:
It is native to Mexico and Central and South America with availability from June through January. This variety looks nothing like its California cousin. It is much larger, has a lighter green, shiny skin that does not darken as it ripens. A quick nutritional comparison of the California and Florida avocado is shown below. My assessment is that both versions have a lot going for them, and the difference comes down calories and fat.

California (Haas) Avocado
1 cup pureed
384 calories
35g fat
5 g saturated Fats
20 g carbohydrate
16 g fiber
High in vitamin K, B6, folate and potassium.

Florida Avocado
1 cup puréed
276 calories
23 g fat
5 g saturated fat
18 g carbohydrate
13 g fiber
High in vitamin C, vitamin E, folate & potassium

So what about taste? The lower calorie Florida avocado is less creamy and has a milder flavor than the California version. Some describe it as tasting “watered down”. If you’re expecting the exact same taste as a California avocado, you’re likely to be disappointed. Try it for its own unique taste or consistency. My experimentation with this fruit leads me to conclude that there is plenty here to merit using the Florida avocado as an alternative.

When I returned to New York I noticed that the SlimCados were available in my own local grocery store. I’m sure they were there all along, but I had never looked for them before. Clearly, they are not the same as the avocados I have always used, but they are quite tasty and have good nutritional value. Rest assured, it won’t be the last time that I buy the Florida avocado!

© 2010, Gretchen Scalpi, RD, CDE. Publication rights granted to all venues so long as article and by-line are reprinted intact and all links are made live.

Gretchen is an author, consultant, speaker and Registered Dietitian & Certified Diabetes Educator. She is also a Certified LEAP Therapist (Lifestyle Eating and Performance), specializing in the clinical management of food sensitivities and related conditions. She opened her private nutrition practice in 2002 and has expanded to two office locations in New Windsor and Beacon, NY. Gretchen’s practice provides individual nutritional counseling in the areas of diabetes, weight management, food sensitivities, gastrointestinal disorders, and general wellness.

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